New York asks ARCADIS for flood control expertise

The New York Economic Development Corporation (NY EDC) has hired the Dutch engineering and consultancy firm ARCADIS to study alternatives for flood risk reduction in Lower Manhattan and other areas vulnerable to flooding due to sea level rise and future severe weather events.

Computer simulations

ARCADIS announced that it is using computer simulations to assess a variety of scenarios including theoretical storms, and high tide and sea level rise as far into the future as 2050. The studies provide data the NY EDC can use to determine the need for flood risk reduction efforts and which conceptual coastal intervention features might provide multiple levels of defence against possible effects of severe weather.

Several approaches

A variety of approaches could be considered including engineered structures like sea walls, smart levees, and storm surge barriers, and measures that work with nature like wetlands restoration, salt ponds and beach nourishment. Additionally, methods for strengthening the city's infrastructure and critical buildings to provide for severe weather resiliency are explored as part of the studies conducted.

Managing floods

"As major storms like Sandy occur more frequently, coastal cities like New York will face flood risk management decisions," said Steve Blake, CEO for ARCADIS U.S. "Multiple lines of defence, including those designed and built with nature, will need to be considered in any comprehensive protection strategy. Using our global Dutch and US expertise and the lessons we learned in designing the flood risk mitigation system in New Orleans, position us well to help the EDC weigh all options for managing potential flooding of the New York waterfront."

The ARCADIS studies are scheduled to be complete and presented to the NY EDC over the next several months.